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Obstacles Are No Match for the Many Treasures Group

At an SGI-USA Many Treasures Group meeting held virtually on April 6, 2024, SGI-USA General Director Adin Strauss and Vice General Director Donna Snyder answered questions from members. Here are two questions and their responses.

Donna Snyder: As many of us may know, the SGI-USA organization doesn’t engage in partisan politics. Having said that, as individuals, we may have our own political views and affiliations, which may differ greatly.

Beyond all the ways we identify ourselves, Buddhism clarifies that our core identity is that of Bodhisattvas of the Earth. We have appeared together at this time as comrades in faith based on the vow we made to advance kosen-rufu together with Ikeda Sensei.

Our Buddhist practice enables us to bring forth life force, courage and wisdom to inform the choices we make and the actions we take as individuals.

There is a quote from second Soka Gakkai President Josei Toda in The Human Revolution about politics that I have always loved. He said:

Anyone can lament and criticize bad politics and society; they are in a bad state and need criticizing. But this alone has no constructive effect. It is human beings who operate society and politics, and the ten states of life are manifest in human hearts. If you are awakened to this reality, then it is only natural to say that individual human revolution is the most fundamental way to cut the roots of evil. Without human revolution on the part of each person, no policies for social and political improvement, no matter how promising, can be more than superficial. (p. 345)

When it comes to preventing a schism, I remember a training session in Japan at the launch of the three SGI-USA territories in 2007.[1] There, one of our youth representatives asked, “How can we protect Sensei’s organization now and in the future when he is not here with us?”

The SGI leader’s answer was swift and clear. He said, “Never create factions and never allow them to be created.” I’ll never forget this.

The favorite activity of devilish functions is to create disunity. They are constantly scheming to separate and divide us, to stop the mighty advance of kosen-rufu.

However, I also believe that devilish functions are no match for the mighty Many Treasures Group members. Let’s always be the first to prevent any schism. Let’s always advance kosen-rufu together in unity based on our shared vow of the oneness of mentor and disciple.

Adin Strauss: The care we naturally provide best is in the form of sincere prayer for the members’ health and well-being, in addition to visiting, chanting, studying and engaging in dialogue with them. All these actions have profound significance, both in the life of the members who are being supported or cared for in this way, as well as in the life of the person providing such wonderful and diligent care.

At the same time, as fellow members or leaders, it’s important to note that it’s not part of our responsibilities to offer financial support, care for them physically or provide services. I have spoken with many individuals who share with me that in addition to their daily lives, they are busy with their SGI responsibilities, and that going beyond that would be more than they could handle. I fully agree.

With all of the above as a premise, we naturally come to develop deep and long-lived friendships as we support one another in our Buddhist practice over the years, even decades. And it’s thus only natural that members may choose to support others in ways that go well beyond any leadership responsibilities or guidelines. That is absolutely fine, as long as all parties understand that such care is extended spontaneously and voluntarily.

So, it’s always a great idea to seek guidance from a senior in faith so that we are not challenging the situation alone.

Last, it’s important to base all actions on prayer. Sensei writes:

Faith is inextinguishable hope. The practice of faith is a struggle to realize our desires. And the basis of this practice is prayer. Through prayer, hope turns into confidence. This spirit of confidence unfolds in three thousand ways, finally resulting in the attainment of our hopes. Therefore, we must never give up.[2]

May 10, 2024, World Tribune, p. 9


  1. In 2007, the SGI-USA established a new organizational structure composed of three territories: West, Central and East. In December 2023, the SGI-USA expanded into a four-territory structure, adding SoCal-Pacific, to better support the membership at the grassroots level. ↩︎
  2. Learning From the Gosho, p. 91. ↩︎

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